These days smart phones have created a niche for themselves, so much that the demand of point and shoot cameras was diminishing. The conventional compact digital cameras are losing out their charm. But desperate times call for desperate measures. As a part of a major challenge various camera manufacturers are developing advanced cameras to stand up against competition. Nikon has also built its contender that competes with smart phones. So named the Cool Pix S 800C, this is the first camera to be openly based on the Android mobile operating system.
Indeed smart phones have become exceptionally addictive photographic tools. Their size is one major reason for people to have them all the time. Smart phones also keep people connected all the time with the mobile data services. Sharing and uploading images is also quite a simple task. The smart phones also benefit from emergence of apps. They also have platforms through which they're sold and this encourages third-party developers too. From photography enabled apps like Instagram to games that keep you hooked on to the virtual world.
The Nikon S800C is a perfect blend of smartness combined with flexibility. Let’s take a closer look at this new innovation from Nikon.
The Nikon S800C is an Android powered camera that works on Android 2.3 (known as Gingerbread). The device has the capability to run any apps equivalent to smart phones. You can spruce-up your shots with the Photoshop Express app, add filters and effects and process great images. In fact, you can find a great pass-time in this camera. You can download quick games such as Fruit Ninja or Temple Run, Subway Surfer.
As compared to compact cameras that have larger sensors (better image quality, particularly in lower light), with better optical zoom and photographic liberty. They also come with removable memory that can be expanded through memory cards that some smart phones lack. The S800c offers the same 10x zoom lens and 16MP backlit CMOS sensor as the Cool Pix S6300. Now, you can use this compact camera as a tablet too. The Nikon S800C’s 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor combined with Nikon’s ECPEED C2 processing engine and a 0x f3.2-5.8 25-250mm lens with optical image stabilization is what makes this point and shoot camera worthy of being a good and handy device.
The integration of Android is a major advantage on this camera. The whole world of apps can be at your fingertips. This camera lacks a headphone jack but it has Bluetooth connectivity as well as wireless headphone/speaker connectivity. You can watch movies, or perhaps listen to music by simply connecting this camera with your speakers via Bluetooth connectivity. There is Wi-Fi connectivity (there's no mobile broadband access), so while you can share directly from the camera to any of your favorite sites, you'll need to have wireless access to do so. If you're on the go, though, Nikon does have mobile apps for Android and iOS, which allow you to send your files to your smart phone or tablet that you can use to upload your files. For those users who have used the Android 4.0 or later OS versions, the 2.3.3 Gingerbread OS would feel very outdated. The OS is quite simple to operate and has all the shortcuts and widgets that perform almost all tasks. You can add e-mail accounts, and easily type in account information with a full onscreen keyboard.
Although the S800C has various features piled up in its compact hood, the whole essence of the point-and –shoot camera is lacking. The addition of Android, Wi-Fi, GPS and touch screen is good but the camera isn’t very special.
Design, Display and Handling:
Sharing design similarities from the other S-Series models, the S800C looks just like any other S series Nikon camera. Its plastic casing is a little different from the usually used metal casings. There is a very nicely placed 3.5-inch OLED touch screen with 819K fine dots on the rear side of the camera and there are 3 very nice and responsive buttons: Menu, Home, and Return. This camera looks almost like a smart phone and by trimming out the screen in silver, the S800C feels more like a camera.
The moment you power on this camera, the greeting reminisces of a typical camera interface, albeit its touch navigation enabled design. The camera has a menu button and you will be able to access all the camera’s features from there. There is a Home Button that launches the Android home screen and pops up the apps. Overall, this is a compact camera that feels quite good when held in your hand.
The S800C has quite an agile performance build up. From the very moment you power on the camera till the time you shoot your first image, you lose just 2.4 seconds. On an average it takes around 1.5 seconds from shot-to shot capture without flash and 1.6 seconds with flash which is quite impressive for a point-and-shoot camera. With a 3-shot burst at 7.9 fps, the camera also has the ability to shoot at 60 and 120fps bursts (25 images at a resolution of 1 megapixel, and the latter grabs up to 50 VGA-quality shots at a press of the shutter release). The sad part after the outburst of photos is the wait for all the photos to get stores. But, for a specific photo to be clicked, this camera serves you the best image.
Overall, the shooting performance of this camera is quite pleasing. The rest of the camera’s performance is however a tad slower than you would expect. Third part apps that you download open slowly and this might cause the camera to hang or forcibly shut the apps.
The video performance is quite good and the optical zoom helps while recording. There is an option for continuous Auto Focus within this camera but the stereo mic picks up the AF sounds while shooting in a quiet place.
Battery and storage:
The Nikon CoolPix S800C comes with a Lithium ion rechargeable battery that lasts for only 140 shots with a single charge (according to CIPA ratings). Sadly enough, the features including Wi-Fi, GPS, or even playing a game can drain your battery pretty fast. This is a removable battery and it is recommended to carry an extra pair just in case. There is a USB-in camera provision that charges the battery. This camera supports SD and SDHC cards and you can add external memory to the existing 1.7 GB in the camera. You would also get a software suite for Cool Pix that supports Windows and Mac.
The S800C has 17 different scene modes like Landscape and Portrait as well as modes for correcting backlit subjects, easy panorama photos (180 or 360 degrees), and handheld night shots. In addition, there is a separate Special Effects mode that gives you some creative options like High-contrast Monochrome and High and Low key. There is a playback menu as well that has various other effects and filters that can be applied post shooting. A few effects include soft focus for a toy camera look and fish-eye. In case you want more effects, you can always rely on the Android apps.
The Nikon CoolPix S800C is a great point-and-shoot camera that runs on Android platform and features touch screen, Wi-Fi, GPS, and full access to the Google Play store. Sadly, the OS is old and the battery life is very short. The camera beats the whole sketch of photography and the photo quality isn’t very good. The CoolPix S800C is hence an above average camera with the advantage of Android.
Nikon CoolPix S800C Rivals:
Canon PowerShot S100
Canon PowerShot S110
Nikon Coolpix S9500
Samsung Galaxy Camera